Looking forward to seeing a few exotic animals, dinosaurs and walking up and down a hill? That is possible when visiting Zoo Bratislava, or Zoologická záhrada Bratislava in Slovak. With the DinoPark in the center, you can see both the Tyrannosaurus rex and the Rhinoceros in the same day.
History of Zoo Bratislava
If you want to know about the history of Zoo Bratislava, you can read it in full at their webpage. Here’s a short summary. The zoo in Bratislava opened its doors in 1959 in the area of Mlynská dolina. This is a neighborhood in the borough of Karlova Ves. The first discussions about a zoo in the city date back to 1948 and several areas were considered before the location in Karlova Ves was finally chosen. The size was originally 9 hectares but soon expanded to 90 hectares.
Zoo Bratislava eventually succeeded in the breeding of animals and was one of the first zoos in Europe to successfully breed lynx.
The 1980s brought with it several devastating events for the zoo. Two thirds of its area were taken for the construction of a sewer collector and a freeway junction. Further disturbances came in 1995 with more construction work in the area.
The zoo is, however, developing and several new attractions have been added since. I visited the first time in 2012 and a lot had changed for the better for our return in 2019.
Animals of Zoo Bratislava
Zoo Bratislava has around 180 species of animals. There is everything from primates such as Sumatran orangutan and common chimpanzee to the big cats such as the jaguar, the Sri Lankan Leopard, the South African Lion, and the tiger.
The rhinoceros looked quite lonely and tired. However, it was more fun to see the European bison. We have seen the European bison or wisent several times this summer. In Sweden, we found them at Kolmården Wildlife Park, Avesta Bison Park, and Kungsbyn Djurpark.
Even though it was an enclosure between us and the animals we could see their feeding from a distance. That is when the large male showed that they do have personality. They were fed in what looked like a large concrete bowl, one that was probably quite heavy. When the male had finished his meal he used his nose to throw the bowl away under the fence towards the caretaker (who luckily was observant). This was probably a way to request more food and that reminded me of the dog we had when I was a kid. She took her empty bowl and dropped it down the stairs when she was hungry.
Little A’s favorites during the visits seem to have been the giraffes, the lions, and the tyrannosaurus rex. But there is so much more to see.
Within the zoo, you will also find the DinoPark. This is an exhibition of dinosaurs that is available in multiple locations in four countries – Slovakia, Czech Republic, Spain, and Russia. The entrance to DinoPark Bratislava is included in the price for the zoo.
When entering through its gates you can notice the similarities with Jurassic Park and it seems like a possible inspiration. Walking along the small paths you will have a close encounter with multiple species of dinosaurs and most of them do move and make sounds. This was a delight for our Little A, who was probably more fascinated by these sculptures than with the real animals.
To mention a few, there are the sauropods diplodocus and the brachiosaurus. You might also bump into other herbivores such as the stegosaurus, the triceratops, and the iguanodon. Then there are, of course, the carnivores, such as the allosaurus, the giganotosaurus, and the mighty tyrannosaurus rex.
Visiting the Zoo (With a Toddler)
There are several bus routes that will take you to the zoo and the stops are conveniently named “Zoo”. Check imhd.sk for any route information or to plan your trip. For more information about the zoo, check their Do you want to know more about Bratislava? Check out our Bratislava Guide here!